Friday, August 27, 2010

Two quick ways to make a college degree cheaper

When it comes to paying for college, the end result is always a college degree. When you put the overall cost into perspective, the dollars can add up. Here are five ways to make a college degree cheaper almost instantly.

1)Take courses at a local junior college. These are almost always city or state JC's. The cost of tuition is very, very small when compared to a four year college. Some students can take the first two complete years there, then transfer, saving them two years of strained college finances. You still get the same student loans and grants. So why not sock that cash away, then be fully funded for the next two years? The perks can also include a local university partnership. Many offer guaranteed admission if a student graduates from a local junior college. If a complete two year program is not for you, there is nothing wrong with taking one or two classes each term there. The cost saving can be significant. Just be sure the classes you take count towards a four year degree and are transferable.

2)Challenge classes with a test. Many colleges and universities allow you to take a test in lieu of taking the class. The few bucks for the test is pennies compared to the tuition and books for a college class. This will make your degree cheaper and quicker! Normally just freshmen or low level classes are testable. But any fewer classes you must take is money in your pocket.

Military service might actually get you college credit for your experience and military technical and trade schools.

The bottom line is that college tuition is going up. The more quick and easy ways you can cut expenses for a degree, the better!

More college money help:
>>College students and credit cards.
>>The hidden cost of college.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Private Student Loans

Since all direct government back and supported student loans are done directly through the government, there are some lending institutions that may offer you a private student loan. But you need to have caution when getting one of these.

You may be tempted because you feel the need to have as much up front cash as possible. But you can be snookered into a student loan that you don't need and will just waste. This instantly increases your debt load when graduating. In short, talk to you financial aid officer for better ways of supplementing your cash. They will be more than willing to listen to you and help. They are your first line of defense.

Don't be fooled by thinking a private loan is somehow back or directed the government. It's not. As stated, all federal loans are from the government now. Don't be taken in by misleading print that may make it seem like the private loan is just a normal student loan.

Private loans will most likely cost you more and have more stringent pay back terms. Because of college students getting into more debt than they needed, the Obama administration made it part of the stimulus bill to get rid of all federal loans made through private firms. All student loans made through private firms are now private loans that are tied directly to those lending institutions. Don't be fooled.

The economic times have made a lot of private firms stop giving student loans. But there are still plenty out there. But this has made them more expensive and harder to get.

Before you sign on the dotted line for a private loan, remember the terms are not generous. They will have a much higher interest rate than federal loans. You also may have to pay some of that interest while in college. You will not get the same forbearance terms and deferments. You WILL have to pay the loan back. No programs to forgive these loans. So, if you think you will have a hard time paying off loans, then a private loan will be twice as bad.

The one upside is that normally there is only a limit to the cost of your education. That means that they will factor in all costs, subtract what other aid you get, then loan you the full amount to pay for your education. Not bad on the surface. But it also can get you in over your head quickly.

You won't be able to consolidate your private loans with federal ones.

If you are looking at a private loan, chances are you will need a cosigner, like a parent. Since you need a top credit score, only someone with a credit history can get them. This leaves many students out without a cosigner. Start searching for one now if a private student loan looks good.

The interest rate you get will be high compared to direct student loans. It may even be variable. It could start low, then go high, leaving you with a staggering payment with no chance of delaying payment or reworking terms.

If you do go for a private loan, shop for the best interest rate.

Make sure you read anything and everything about the loan. It may be a good idea to have a parent to read them with you. You should be educated on all terms and potential problems.

The bottom line is this. Private student loans fill a need. But if you are truly needy, your financial aid office can help you more than you think! Make sure you do not borrow more than the cost of education. Do not have a fun with student loan funds.

>>Financial Aid Secrets.
>>Tips for more Financial Aid.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to college savings tips

Don't purchase new school items if what you have on hand is still good. This goes for everything from pencils, backpacks, to clothes. If your clothes are not worn out, remember in college students can have their own identities and don't always need the latest fashions. This is a great tip for saving money for college right of the bat.

If you must shop, shop online. If you browse the stores in person, you will be enticed by all the fancy displays and new items. College students readily give in to buying urges. Shopping online allows you to get exactly what you need.

This is a no-brainer: Buy used textbooks. Of course this means shopping early at the college bookstore or online. You should get enrolled and a book list as soon as possible. More ways to save on college textbooks.

As a college student, you have to set a budget. And stick with it. You want to limit your purchases and save money, not live on the edge. Money you save is cash in your pocket for the future!

If you live in the college dorm, wait to see what your roommate has. No reason to buy items for a dorm room when your roommate might already have them. If you need something else, ask them to share the cost for items that the dorm room needs. This is ideal for TVs, lamps, chairs, rugs, etc.

As far as school items like pens, pencils, and paper, it is always wise to stock up early when the prices are cheap. College students should buy items in bulk packages. Don't buy one pencil, buy a pack of ten. Similar for paper and pens. You will use them, so why not stock up and save?

Look for sales. Every store has sales at the start of the school year. This can happen early, and may not run later. Savvy college students always shop during sales.

Get your student discount! If you have a college ID, many stores offer discounts for students. Take advantage of them!

>>30 college money savings tips.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ways to cut college costs

Going to college is expensive. Here are just a few more tips on cutting the cost of going to college.

Get good grades. Most colleges offer some type of merit award for good grades. If you maintain the required GPA, make sure you apply.

And keep getting those good grades! Not only does if give you a little more money, it also keeps you from repeating a class. One of the easiest ways to cut the overall cost of college is to graduate on time or early. Take as many classes as you can.

If you are a top notch student and colleges want you, you will get a better financial aid package. More money goes to the top students. So, if you are way down on the list, you will not get much. If money is tight, go to a school where you get in early.

Want to immediately cut the cost of college? Live at home. You probably live near a four year college or university that is within easy driving or commuting distance. Dorms cost thousands of dollars a year. Your parents will be paying no more than what they are now for you to room and board.

However, some private colleges and universities offer better financial aid packages than public. If they want you, they will offer more. It may actually be less out of pocket expenses to go to a private college that is a long distance away.

>>How to find college scholarships.

>>Tips for more financial aid.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Medical School Admission may be Changing

Students for years that have wanted to get into medical school have labored over math and science. Striving for straight A's. Hoping medical schools will like their science ability. Toss in the MCAT test (medical school admission test) and the prospective med school student has a lot on their mind.

But that may be changing.

One of the most prestigious medical schools in the country, Mount Sinai medical school , is purposely holding 35 slots to their med school for some non-science majors like humanities or social science. You also need at least a 3.5 GPA. According to statistics put on by the medical school, both types of students had the same rate of success.

Mount Sinai medical school looks at your high school grades, SAT test, and essays. You apply during your sophomore year to their med school.

Will other medical schools follow suit? Perhaps.

You may ask yourself why are medical schools even thinking about non-science majors? The reason is about what it takes to be the kind of doctor a medical school wants to graduate or admit. Do they want a science based student who can dish out facts about chemicals and biology, or do they want a student who has more human personal skills and may be more caring.

If you were thinking about medical school, but dreaded all the science, you may now be in luck. You may no longer be excluded on the basis of your college major or your MCAT score. But you still will need some college level chemistry and biology.

Realize that the way some services rate medical schools are based partly on MCAT scores, don't look for that to go away completely. Some schools even think the MCAT test is the best indicator as to how well a student performs.

If more and more studies show that non science majors do just as well in med school, and go on to be more caring and personal in their medical careers, who knows? Maybe medical school will be more open to all types of students.

>>Medical school scholarships and loans.

>>Nursing school scholarships.